“Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment” Now at Forest Lawn Museum

It’s a new year and for me that means one thing – it’s time to tighten the belt. I love splurging at Christmas time and equally love getting back to budgeting in January (I’ve always been on the thrifty side). But just because I’m back to saving my pennies doesn’t mean I have to stop going out and having fun. As expensive as SoCal may be there are still plenty of opportunities for every budget.  Take Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale. Not only does it have a fantastic art collection but it consistently hosts an eclectic mix of traveling exhibits. And the best part? It’s always 100% free. Recently, I headed there to check out the latest exhibition Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment.

Women of Vision is a collection of 11 female photographers’ work while on assignment for National Geographic. With nearly 100 photographs on display it’s an extensive overview of the diverse subject matter these talented women cover.

The photographers featured are Lynsey Addario, Kitra Cahana, Jodi Cobb, Diane Cook, Carolyn Drake, Lynn Johnson, Beverly Joubert, Erika Larsen, Stephanie Sinclair, Maggie Steber and Amy Toensing. Each has a distinct style that covers an array of subject matter from landscapes, to wildlife to areas of conflict to indigenous peoples. Their diverse talent is beautifully displayed in the exhibition space.

For some reason, whenever I think of National Geographic I think of wildlife so I expected the show to feature several shots of animals. Imagine my surprise when I came face to face with images of Austin teenagers, Yemeni child brides, indigenous Scandinavians and Mormon fundamentalists. Not to mention skyscrapers, cityscapes and landscapes. In fact, only one photographer, Beverly Joubert, focuses on wildlife, specifically big cats.

Lessons of the Hunt by Beverly Joubert

Walking around I was awestruck by the beautiful images on display. I must admit, aside from Ms. Joubert, I wasn’t familiar with the featured photographers and a whole new world opened up to me.

As a city girl through and through I fell in love with Diane Cook’s vibrant images of New York and Chicago. I’ve been lucky enough to visit both of these cities and looking at her pictures made me ache to go back.

Veiled Rebellion by Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario travels to areas of conflict and documents the plight of women and families. I was moved by the above image of an 11-year old Afghan girl who burned herself. Sadly, this is relatively common occurrence as many of the countries women feel it’s their only escape from poverty and abuse. It’s truly heartbreaking and I only hope that through the work of Ms. Addario and her peers change can be made.

Monhegan Island, Maine by Amy Toensing

I’m endlessly fascinated by the back-roads and byways of the US and appreciate any glimpse into small town life. Amy Toensing visited Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine, an documented it’s tiny population. This cozy portrait of brothers Harry and Doug Odom filled my heart with warmth and a tinge of sadness, They’re clearly happy but I can’t help but see it as an emblem of a lost era when the world was just a little bit slower and more peaceful.

Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment may just be my favorite Forest Lawn Museum exhibition to date. Visually stunning and emotionally moving it’s well worth visiting. On display through April 7, 2019 there’s no excuse to miss it.


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